Livestock producers in North and North West Queensland now have access to a Wild Dog specialist to help reduce the impact of wild dogs under a new project co-funded by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).
The project has seen well known pest management coordinator, Brett Carlsson, appointed Senior Wild Dog Co-ordinator for North and North West Queensland, based in Cairns.
Recent estimates of the impact of wild dogs in Queensland alone are near $100 million.
The new role is part of an overall project being funded in a partnership between the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF), AgForce, MLA Donor Company (MDC), Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), and the western Queensland regional bodies of Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) and South West Regional Economic Development Association (SWRED).
In this senior role, Brett will oversee the activities of two additional Wild Dog Coordinators to be recruited for the Central West and South West regions of the State.
The Coordinators will work with landholders, local wild dog committees, councils, and State Government Department of Agriculture and Biosecurity Queensland on wild dog control management programs.
MLA General Manager – Producer Consultation and Adoption, Michael Crowley, said growing wild dog populations are increasingly affecting cattle producers in the north.
“Producers in the northern region may not be aware of recent developments in best practice pest control and planning,” Mr Crowley said.
“These newly funded positions aim to engage producers in best practice control strategies, train them in the use of the most up-to-date tools, encourage adoption of the latest technologies and facilitate the coordination of control programs.
“Brett Carlsson is a veteran of setting up these programs throughout Central and South West Queensland and will be working with producers from the coast across to the Northern Territory border.
“Data collected through the Program will also be valuable in evaluating the extent of the wild dog problem in Queensland.”
Brett Carlsson, who has worked in the pest management industry for 13 years, said the new structure would provide support to landholders to undertake a coordinated approach.
“A lot of wild dog control is happening in the cattle industry but it could be better coordinated to ensure producers are working in groups, sharing the load and having a greater impact on wild dog populations,” Mr Carlsson said.
“Sheep are more susceptible to wild dog attacks and so support has traditionally been focused on sheep production areas. However, wild dogs impact the cattle industry in a number of ways.
“Calves are obviously at risk from dog attacks, but reducing dog numbers will result in less cattle with bite marks and other injuries, and less stress to livestock, particularly calving heifers.
“Beyond the physical impacts, wild dogs have been implicated in the spread of parasitic diseases, such as Hydatid disease and Neosporosis.
“If we can reduce dog numbers, and I know we can, then we can reduce the impacts and producers should start to see a change with potentially more calves on the ground and improved animal welfare.”
National Wild Dog Management Coordinator Greg Mifsud, whose role sits within the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, said this collaborative funding effort by industry and government would lead to improved capacity of landholders to implement best practice, integrated control strategies.
“Upskilling and supporting producers and their communities to responsibly and humanely manage vertebrate pests will return multiple social, economic and environmental benefits,” Mr Mifsud said.
“Across northern Australia, sheep numbers had fallen significantly in recent years while reports of wild dog predation on cattle had increased.
“By working together and using the right control tools for the situation effectively, producers and other stakeholders can achieve a sustainable future for the red meat industry that supports biodiversity and the environment.”
The Project is not MLA’s only investment in wild dog research, development and adoption. MLA is a co-funder of the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, following significant investment over the past 12 years in the previous Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre.
Source: Meat & Livestock Australia